Updating a Vintage Washstand for Modern-Day Use

Arles chalk paint plays well with many other colors.

This washstand was so wobbly that I was afraid one sneeze would blow it over! I wasn't going to buy it, but there was another interested shopper trying to nudge me out of the way, so I immediately snatched it up. There's nothing like a little competition to get me to throw down my money, ha ha.

(I also bought the bench and you can see that project HERE.)

Wobbly washstand at thrift store.

First thing was to give it a good cleaning.

Vintage washstand cleaned and ready for paint.

Then I had to figure out how to stabilize the wobbliness. I pulled and tugged on each of the connection joints at the top of the table as well as where the legs connect to the bottom shelf.

Inspecting wood joints for repair.

As you can see I was able to easily pull the connections out of place. Luckily there weren't any nails holding the legs in place, so it was easy for me to access without damaging the structure. I've had a few chairs before that were reinforced with nails. Let's just say they ended up making good fire wood.

Remove the legs from the base in order to glue and clamp into place.

I squirted wood glue into the separated area.

Wood glue will form a tight bond and fix the wobbly table legs.

Then I put the spindled leg back into place and then wiped away the excess glue. The wood glue dries clear, but this step will help give a more professional appearance afterwards.

Taking this extra step will result in a professional looking finish.

Next I clamped it in place and allowed the wood glue to dry thoroughly. Easy-peasy except that I had to repeat the process for the other joints at the top and also where the bottom shelf connected. Still no problem there except I only had one clamp big enough for the job, so it was a long and tedious process. But once begun is half done . . .

Clamp in place until the wood glue is thoroughly dried.

Now that it's nice and sturdy once again it is time for the best part of any job . . . painting!

This project will have a bright cheerful color.


The washstand is painted in Arles chalk paint and sealed with clear wax. There's a little surprise color at the end of this post -- keep on scrolling!

Vintage washstand with a new painted finish.

I initially left the top with the original wood finish, but it looked out of place to me, so I went ahead and painted the top to match the rest of the washstand.

I debated leaving the original wood finish on the top, but it looked unfinished, so I went ahead and painted it.

I applied a medium distressed finish to the paint, with a bit of chippy here and there.

I applied medium distressing to the paint with a little chippy here and there.

I don't think too many people use washstands these days, but they are wonderfully useful for any room that needs a little extra boost of storage and work space, such as a kitchen or laundry room.

Repurposed vintage washstand.

I added a pop of color to this vintage washstand, but kept the overall finish in keeping with its era.

I like the control chalk paint has for adding a chippy finish.

The Arles chalk paint looks beautiful in the shadows of a winter sunset.

The painted finish adds just the right touch of color.

I think old washstands repurpose well into coffee bar stations.

And here's the bit of color surprise! The interior drawer is painted in Provence blue.

And a little surprise color on the drawer's interior!

With the exterior having a vintage aged finish, the pop of bright color on the inside adds a nice contrast.

With the exterior having a vintage aged finish, the pop of bright color on the inside adds a nice contrast.

I hope you enjoyed today's project! Thank you for visiting The Black Sheep Shoppe.

This vintage washstand was ready to fall apart. But with a little bit of glue and a fresh coat of paint it's ready for a new life.

Seriously there are treasures waiting to be found at thrift stores.

Vintage washstands can be re-purposed for modern-day uses.


  1. Love ❤️ this awesome post ✍️ valuable & informative 👍

  2. You are so creative!

  3. I totally love how you created the finish and love the color. You said it was Arles chalk paint but what color is that? It almost looks more of a mustard color. It really looks like a vintage piece. Very well done.

    1. Thanks Mary! The brand is Annie Sloan Chalk Paint and the exterior color is Arles. The drawer interior color is Provence (same brand).


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